'NFTS' reputation and facilities should make this practical course a 'must' for anyone wanting to direct commercials’ Sir Alan Parker

This unique part-time diploma course delivered in partnership with D&AD, will equip students with the skills required to become a successful Commercials Director. 

  • Leave the course with a professional standard show reel of three commercials
     (inc. 1 viral commercial)
  • Attend weekly talks from key speakers in the advertising industry including Creative Directors, successful Commercials Directors and Brand Managers
  • Based in London amongst the hub of the commercials industry
  • One evening a week (with additional production activity as required)
  • Improve career prospects by gaining an unrivalled knowledge and an invaluable list of industry contacts
  • Access to NFTS's Masterclasses led by major creative figures from film, television and game

The course is supported by a wide range of commercials production companies, agencies etc. For example Great Guns and Blink have been integral to the design of the course and will contribute teaching sessions to the course.

We welcome EU/EEA Students. Course fees charged at UK rate.

Course Promo 2016

Application Deadline: 27 Sep 2018

Course Overview

Working as a director in commercials involves a unique skillset. Not only does it require creative vision and technical knowledge but a successful director will have a good understanding of how to successfully negotiate working in a commercial environment in a highly collaborative way.

About D&AD

Since 1962, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. The D&AD Professional Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world. But it's much more than just awards. Members join a vibrant global community, whilst creatives and clients are inspired by a world-class Training programme. As a non-profit advertising association, all D&AD's surpluses go straight into programmes such as New Blood, inspiring the next generation of creative talent and stimulating the creative industry to work towards a fairer more sustainable future.


This course will facilitate students making three commercials (including one digital content only commercial) combining practical production experience and specialist training.

Specifically students will learn about:

  • The commercials market
  • Developing ideas
  • Creating moodboards and storyboards
  • Pitching
  • Managing the client
  • Working with agencies and production companies
  • Responding to briefs
  • Understanding brands
  • Casting
  • Shoot processes and protocols
  • The use of music in commercials

Each term, a key project will be to direct a commercial. By the end of the course you will have made three commercials.

The course has been developed to meet industry demand and NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any other film school. And, unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the NFTS and productions are given cash production budgets.

The diploma course is 12 months part-time, one evening a week (with additional production activity as required) and is delivered in central London. Each week Creative Directors, Successful Commercials Directors, Agency staff, Brand Managers etc will speak to students to elucidate a different aspect of the commercials sector.  

Participant production activity will be supported by NFTS students studying on craft courses including Cinematography and Production Sound.

NFTS Benefits

Directing Commercials and Promos course participants will have full access to our creative masterclasses and clubs, including: Cinema Club, Screen Arts and NFTS Masterclasses - these strands see major creative figures from film, television and games screening their work and discussing with students in the campus cinema. Recent speakers include David Fincher (Director, Seven, Gone Girl), Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, Father Ted), Dougal Wilson (award winning commercials director), Abi Morgan (Suffragette, The Hour), and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, The Dark Knight).


Award-winning cinematographer, Stuart Harris has been appointed to lead the Directing Commercials Diploma.

Stuart, who is also co-head of the NFTS Cinematography MA, has worked on award-winning feature film, Wetherby, music videos for the likes of Pink Floyd and a whole host of commercials for brands such as Levis, Head and Shoulders, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Oil of Olay and Renault.

He has also won a D&AD Silver Pencil (equivalent to Yellow) for ‘Outstanding Film Photography’*, Milan award, Cannes Commercial Award and New York Clio Award for ‘Best Cinematography’.

Entry Requirements

Students come from a wide range of backgrounds: you may be an independent filmmaker, you might have a degree or you may have experience of working in the industry. 

If you are not an EEA National, you must already be in possession of a UK visa valid for the duration of this course.  We are unable to accept your application if you do not.

Apply With

  • Please supply a showreel of your own work (max 4 minutes) - (Vimeo links)
  • treatment for a 30 seconds commercial for a well-known product (one side of A4)

How to Apply

You can apply directly to us at the NFTS by clicking on the link below:

When selecting your course, please ensure that you have read the entry requirements and details of the supporting materials that should accompany your application.

Timing your application

We are happy to receive applications 24/7 and 365 days a year up until the deadline.

  • 12 Month Course
  • Part-time
  • Course runs Jan-Dec
  • Next intake: January 2019
  • UK and EEA applicants only